Spectateur Éternel - Irène Laub Gallery. 2017
Front: Untitled, 2017. Inkjetprint mounted on aluminium. Metal Structure. 80 x 130 cm
Right: O Mundo na mão, 2016. Book. 18,5 x 5 x 5,5 cm
Rui Calçada Bastos is a wanderer and his work reflects what he perceives on his travels. His gaze is inquisitive, focusing on objects and situations containing a sense of uncertainty and loss.
Weary (Untitled - Cairo), neglected (Untitled), mistreated (Untitled - Macau) and absent subjects (Ghost III), testify to a state of transition. Obsolete items take on a new function and meaning when he’s briefly confronted to them in a nomadic context. Because he abandons his comfort zone the traveller is mesmerized by the nature of events he sees. The balance between displacement and proximity brings to his work a graceful melancholic mood which bears raw persistence but also a sense of beauty and enchantment. Rui Calçada Bastos has poetical insight, the mood his work expresses mirrors the artist’s own nature. A ceaseless spectator of the world and of himself, he develops a physical and emotional cross-examination of his relationship to subjects encountered.
In his first Brussels solo exhibition Rui Calçada Bastos shows a series of photographs, objects and video. Setting the scene for a gradual introspection, the work emerges from the street gallery window, ending in the basement as a private and intimate space. Following this thread he presents a range of perceptions. Starting with a work relating to the city and its collective domain, he progressively moves inwardly to a more personal relationship with the way things can be used. By dealing with the presence, absence and role of things, he also deals with the impossibility of handling them altogether (The World in Hand). This is revealed in his last work (Spectateur Éternel) where the artist is locked in a room dreaming of the outside world, thus moving from a communal to an individual sphere but also from a physical to a metaphysical dimension.
Rui Calçada Bastos’ work continuously portrays a state of wandering and transition where presence and absence are the trigger to redefining identity.
Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues
Lisbon, 16 July 2017